Ranking Poker Hands

Which Hand Beats Which?

Learn the Basics and Win

Ranking Hands in Poker from Weakest to Strongest

Here are the standard ranking of hands, in order of importance, for your edification. While there are certain games that call upon alternate use of the hand rankings, such as high-low games, knowing these hands can make or break your game.

It's important to note that suits have no rank in poker for breaking ties between matching hands.

The Traditional Ranks of Hands in Poker

Standard High Card Poker Hands

1) High Card

high card animated gif by GottaTalkPoker

The lowest ranked hand.
This occurs when no other hand can be made.

Since betting will most often force a hand like this out of play, this usually only occurs when a hand has been checked down by all players, or a player is "all-in".

2) One Pair

one pair animated gif by GottaTalkPoker

Two cards of the same value, different suit.

This hand rarely holds up in multi-handed play, but can still hold its own in heads up. More likely than not, it is the result of an unimproved opening hand (such as in Holdem) or a missed draw.

3) Two pair

two pair animated gif by GottaTalkPoker

Self-explanatory.

This is a moderate hand, and should be played cautiously. In heads up play, this can be backed up with some betting, but not so much in multi-handed situations. Beware those hidden sets when playing this hand...

4) Three-of-a-Kind

three of a kind animated gif by GottaTalkPoker

Three cards of the same value, different suit.

Often referred to as "trips", or a "set", this hand can back into some nice pots, especially against loose players overplaying hands such as two pair.

In community card games such as Holdem or Omaha, there is a difference between "trips" and "sets": a "Set" uses two hole cards and one community card, while "trips" uses one hole card, and two community cards.

5) Straight

straight animated gif by GottaTalkPoker

5 cards in sequential order.

In the event two players have a straight, the player with the highest card wins.

Aces can be used as either the highest, 10,J,Q,K,A, or lowest card, A,2,3,4,5

This is a strong hand in all forms of play, but deserves a note of caution. Far too often, new players get "married" to their straights, ignoring signs of flushes and full houses on the board. If you find yourself in this situation, react accordingly.

6) Flush

flush animated gif by GottaTalkPoker

5 cards of the same suit.

In the event two players have a flush, the player with the highest card wins.

Another strong hand in all forms of play, but again, often a victim to the hands above it. While straight flushes and quads can naturally dominate here, they are far rarer than the full house, the traditional spoiler for this hand.

When playing this hand, maximize your profits, but take care to be AWARE of the cards around you...

7) Full House

full house animated gif by GottaTalkPoker

Three cards of the same value, with a pair. Basically, trips and a pair.

In the event two players have a full house, the "trips" of highest value wins the hand. If the "trips" are the same, the "pair" of the highest value wins the hand.

A very strong hand that can be confidently bet behind in almost all situations. While caution is always the watchword in poker, a little awareness of your situation, and your read on your opponents' cards, goes a long way towards maximizing your results with this hand. A great "trapping" hand against new players pushing a flush or straight.

8) Four-of-a-Kind

four of a kind animated gif by GottaTalkPoker

Four cards of the same value.

Also called "Quads", this is the Rolls Royce of poker hands.

Able to take down almost any pot, but difficult to completely mask in community card games, this hand is the one you need to maximize your profits on. Keep your eyes open for opportunities here, as this hand is often up against a full house...'nuff said.

9) Straight Flush

straight flush animated gif by GottaTalkPoker

A straight, all of the same suit.

It doesn't get much better than this, the only exception being the highest form of Straight Flush, the Royal Flush.

If Quads are the Rolls Royce, the Straight Flush is the Gold Standard in poker. Play with abandon, as you won't get this hand often.

10) Royal Flush

royal flush animated gif by GottaTalkPoker

The best hand in poker, it is the highest straight flush possible.

What more needs to be said?

This hand is so rare, it often comes with big prizes offered by the poker rooms for getting one. If you get one, enjoy!

Some clarification:

Split Hands

When two players have the same hand, i.e., the same two pair, the hand with the highest fifth card, i.e., the kicker, wins the hand.

However,

If the five cards are identical, through using community or wild cards, The pot is split.

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